Welcome to our guide on curl activators for curly hair! If you're someone who has naturally curly hair, you understand the daily struggles of frizz, dryness, and unmanageability. It can be frustrating to find the best curl activator on the market that works well for your hair type. That's why we're here to introduce you to curl activators and why they may become your new go-to product.

What is Curl Activators?

Curl activators are products specifically formulated to enhance and define natural curls. They work by providing moisture, conditioning, and holding power to help curls maintain their shape and bounce. Curl activators often contain ingredients like glycerin and aloe vera, which help to smooth the cuticle and reduce frizz. They come in different forms such as creams, gels, and sprays, and can be used on wet or dry hair.

Benefits of Curl Activators

The benefits of using curl activators include defining and enhancing natural curls, reducing frizz, adding shine, and providing lasting hold throughout the day. Some curl activators also come with added benefits like heat protection and UV protection, making them a great multi-purpose product.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about curl activators for curly hair. We'll explain how curl activators work, their benefits, the various types of curl activators available, and how to choose the right one for your hair type and texture. We'll also provide you with some tips and tricks to get the most out of your curl activator and achieve the perfect curls every time.

Our goal is to provide you with valuable insights and recommendations on how to best use curl activators for your curly hair. We understand that finding the perfect product to enhance and define your curls can be a daunting task. That's why our team of experts has carefully researched and tested different curl activators on various hair types to bring you the best tips and tricks for getting the most out of your curl activator. So whether you're a curly hair pro or just starting on your natural hair journey, our guide on curl activators has got you covered!

curly hair

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Curl Activator

If you're looking to enhance and define your natural curls, choosing the right curl activator is essential. With so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which product is right for you. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a curl activator.

Hair Type

The first factor to consider when choosing a curl activator is your hair type. Your hair type can range from fine to coarse, and from low to high porosity. Fine hair requires a lightweight curl activator that won't weigh down the hair, while coarser hair needs a heavier formula to provide enough hold. Hair porosity affects how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture, so it is important to get a curl activator that is formulated to work with your hair's porosity.

Curl Pattern

Another important factor to consider is your curl pattern. Different curl patterns require different levels of hold and moisture. For example, if you have loose curls, you may want a lighter hold curl activator to avoid weighing down your curls. But if you have tight curls, you may need a more heavy-duty curl activator that provides a stronger hold.


Ingredients are an important factor to consider when selecting a curl activator. Some common ingredients found in curl activators are glycerin, aloe vera, keratin, and protein. Glycerin is moisture-attracting and can help reduce frizz, while aloe vera can help with scalp health and hair growth. Look for curl activators that are formulated with natural ingredients, free from harsh chemicals or harmful ingredients that can cause damage to your hair.

Hold and Definition

The level of hold and definition you want for your curls is another factor to consider when choosing a curl activator. If you prefer a softer, more natural look, you may want a light hold formula. However, if you want more definition and structure to your curls, then a heavier formula would be better suited for you.

short curls


Moisture is a vital factor in maintaining healthy curls. Curly hair tends to be naturally dry, so selecting a curl activator that provides enough moisture is essential. If you have high porosity hair, look for curl activators that contain humectants, like glycerin or honey, which can help retain moisture. For low-porosity hair, choose a curl activator with lighter oils, like jojoba or grapeseed oil, which can penetrate the hair and provide long-lasting moisture.


Price is another important consideration when selecting a curl activator. Some curl activators can be pricier than others, so it is essential to find a product that fits within your budget. Remember that just because a product is more expensive, does not necessarily mean it is better.

Brand Reputation

Brand reputation is a final factor to consider when selecting a curl activator. Look for brands that have a history of positive customer reviews and feedback. Research the brand and read reviews to ensure that the product you're investing in is worth your money.

long curls

Types of Curl Activators

Curl activators come in different forms, all designed to provide the necessary moisture and hold your curls need. Here are some of the most common types of curl activators available on the market.


Curl activating creams are thick and moisturizing and are designed to provide definition, shine, and frizz control to curly hair. Creams are suitable for all hair types, including coarser and thicker hair, and can be used on wet or dry hair. Apply the cream to sections of your hair, starting from the ends and working your way up. Scrunch your hair to create defined curls.


Curl activating gels are designed to provide a stronghold for curly hair. They are available in light to strong hold formulas and are suitable for all hair types. Apply the gel evenly to wet hair and scrunch your curls in your hands while they air dry. Avoid using too much of the product as it can create a crunchy texture.


Curl activating sprays are lightweight and provide a quick and easy moisture boost to dry curls. They are perfect for refreshing your curls during the day. Spray a generous amount of the mist on the hair section by section and scrunch curls to reactivate them. Curl sprays can also be used as a pre-styling product to help define and enhance curls.

natural curls


Curl activating serums are designed to provide shine and moisture to dry hair. They can be used on wet or dry hair and are perfect for taming flyaways and frizz. Apply the serum to the hair, starting from the ends, working your way up keeping it away from the scalp. Work it in with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.


Curl-activating mousses are lightweight and provide a natural hold. They are perfect for those who like a natural look, without the crunch. Apply the mousse to wet hair, scrunch curls, and let them air dry. They are suitable for all hair types, especially fine hair, as the foam creates body and volume.

Remember that each hair type responds differently to each product. It's great to experiment and find the one that works best for your unique hair type!

How to Use Curl Activators

Curl activators are a great way to enhance and define your natural curls, but it's important to use them correctly to get the best results. Here are some general tips and a step-by-step guide on how to use curl activators.

General Tips

  1. Apply the curl activator to wet hair, preferably after washing and conditioning your hair.
  2. Avoid using too much product, especially with heavier formulas, as it can weigh down your curls and leave them looking greasy.
  3. Apply product section by section to ensure all curls receive an equal amount of product.
  4. Scrunch your curls to create defined curls.
  5. Let curls air dry to avoid frizz.
hair serum

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Start with clean, towel-dried hair.  Apply a leave-in conditioner to damp hair for additional moisture.
  2. Using your preferred curl activator, dispense a small amount of product into your palm. Use more or less depending on your hair length and thickness.
  3. With your product in hand, scrunch your curls to encourage definition. Start at the ends of your hair and work your way up. Be gentle to avoid causing frizz.
  4. Once you have applied product throughout your hair, scrunch your curls again. Use a diffuser or let your hair air dry.
  5. If you find that your curls have become too crunchy, scrunch them again once they are completely dry, this will create a natural look that is still defined.

Using curl activators can be an excellent way to achieve beautiful, defined curls. By following these general tips and using our step-by-step guide, your curls will always look their best. Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of curl activators and application techniques to find the best product that works for you.

red curls

Our List of the Top Products in This Category

  1. SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream
  2. AG Hair Curl Re: Coil
  3. Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer
  4. Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream


In this guide, we have covered everything you need to know about curl activators for curly hair. From understanding what curl activators are, to choosing the right one for your hair type and texture, to using them correctly, you should now be an expert in achieving beautiful, defined curls.

Recap of Key Points

Here’s a quick recap of the key points we’ve covered:

  • Curl activators provide moisture, hold, and definition to natural curls
  • Choosing the right curl activator depends on hair type, curl pattern, ingredients, hold and definition, moisturization, price, and brand reputation
  • Curl activators come in various forms such as creams, gels, sprays, serums, and mousses
  • To achieve the best results with curl activators, always apply to damp hair, avoid using too much product, and scrunch curls to define them
long curly hair

We recommend that you look for curl activators that are formulated with natural ingredients, free from harsh chemicals or harmful ingredients that can cause damage to your hair. Be sure to experiment with different types of curl activators and application techniques to find the best product that works for you.

We recommend that you try one of the recommended products we have reviewed in this guide. With careful research and testing, we have found these products to be the best curl activators on the market. Try them out and see which one works best for your hair.

Thank you for reading our guide on curl activators for curly hair. We hope that it has been helpful in achieving your hair goals. Remember to always care for your hair and embrace its natural beauty!

FAQs About Curl Activator

Do Curl Activator Works

Curl activators define curls and reduce frizz. Use ones with hydrating ingredients & hold factors. Apply after showering & scrunch it till the desired definition. Find what product/technique combo works for you & say hello to beautiful spirals!

Can I Use Curl Activator Everyday

Use curl activator in moderation, applying too much can lead to drying out, irritation, or flattening of curls. When using frequently, focus on even distribution and light coating to avoid buildup and ensure healthier-looking curls.

Do You Put Curl Activator on Wet or Dry Hair?

Apply curl activator to damp hair for defined curls. Apply to already dry hair for a wavier look. Check product labels for directions and avoid using too much to prevent buildup. Scrunch out water with a towel and let your curls dry fully.

Shoulder Level Curly Hair

Is Curl Activator Good for the Hair

Curl activators nourish curls, prevent frizz & add definition. Apply thin layers to avoid buildup. Use products tailored to your curls & avoid harsh chemicals. Ideal for reviving curls, fighting humidity, and adding shine.

Is Curl Activator a Conditioner

Yes, a curl activator is a type of conditioner designed to enhance the shape, health, and appearance of curly hair. While regular conditioners are intended to restore moisture and protect from breakage, curl activator provides an additional boost by forming smaller individual curls for greater definition.

Curly Hair Routine